During the cold winter months in Northeast Ohio, it is common to find your car wheels spinning in a pile of snow and ice. So what do you do when your car is stuck in the snow? Don’t panic, here are some tips for preparing for those snowy blizzards as well as some tactics to get your car free from the snow.
It’s all About Preparation
While you can’t control the weather, you can control your preparedness for winter driving. If you live somewhere where heavy snow could come down without notice, it is crucial that you stock your car with a few emergency items.
Gear up with Snow Tires
Before winter, make it a point to check out your tires. It is smart to get snow tires for the season and if not, at least make sure that your all-season tires’ air pressure is checked and the thread is not worn down. Need some Snow Tire recommendations? Call our friends at D&S Automotive for more information.
Travel with a Snow Shovel
It is always a good idea to keep a snow shovel in your car if you are concerned about getting your car stuck in the snow. It comes in very handy, in the event that you need to clear a path around your tires. Equipping your car with a shovel can also be a life saver for others stuck and in need of help. Preparing yourself by installing snow tires and carrying a shovel, will most definitely aid you in most minor snow situations. However, here are 5 other tips to get your car out of the snow.
Tips to get your Vehicle out of the Snow
1. Rock your Car Back and Forth
First, try to clear the snow around your tires (this is much easier if you are prepared with a shovel!). Once that is complete, get back in your car and turn the steering wheel so that your tires are straight. Carefully try to rock your car back and forth by lightly pressing on the gas to go as far forward as possible, then put it in reverse and use the momentum to roll backwards. Repeat this rocking motion to build up momentum. When attempting this technique, be sure to press on the gas very lightly, as the more your wheels turn quickly, the greater chance you have of digging yourself in a deeper hole. If your car is not budging and your wheels are spinning, try applying the brake slightly while giving it a little gas. However, be aware that adding the brake to the mix should only be tried for less than a few seconds to avoid overheating your brakes. With patience, this rocking motion can sometimes build enough momentum and speed to break your car free from the snow.
2. Get Some Traction
If the rocking technique fails to get your car free, you may need to help your tires get a grip by adding traction. Sand, salt, dirt or even kitty litter are great for adding traction. Just throw some in front and behind the wheel and try the hitting the gas again. If you don’t have any of the items listed, you can try cardboard, your floor mats or anything else you may have that will get your tires off the ice and onto something with more traction.
3. Find Someone to Give you a Push
Sometimes all you need is a little muscle to get your car out of the snow. If you have people with you or are somewhere where you can get a hand from some good Samaritans, try to push your car free by gently pressing the gas while your car is being pushed to add extra strength and momentum. Be sure to make sure your car is always in forward if they are pushing from behind to keep them out of harms way.
4. Use Snow Chains
Another technique that can be very effective is to wrap your tires in chains (these are another good item to keep in your car just in case). The chains will give your tires added traction, making it easier to get a grip and drive out of the snow.
5. Let Some Air Out of Your Tires
As a last resort, you can let a little bit of air out of your tires. By doing this, you will put more of your tire’s rubber in contact with the ground, giving you better traction in the short run. If you do apply this technique, you need to be in an area where you can quickly refill your tires once you break free. Driving with under-inflated tires is a safety hazard and could do damage if you travel this way for too long.
If none of the above tips work, call an emergency roadside assistance service, as they can arrange for your car to be towed. And remember, drive slowly and cautiously when snow and ice are on the ground. Many times you can avoid getting stuck in the first place with standard winter driving precautions.